Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday, we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Angela Surf City” by The Walkmen from their forthcoming 2010 release Lisbon on Fat Possum.
Since the release of their debut album Everyone Who Pretends to Like Me Is Gone in 2002, The Walkmen have been one of the most consistent and tightly-knit indie rock outfits out there; the band’s five members have been playing together in one incarnation or another since they were toting schoolbooks. Lisbon will mark their sixth full-length studio release in the past eight years, and, for the most part, it’s all been good stuff. Led by front man Hamilton Leithauser’s raw and confident vocals, the band has wooed fans and critics alike with a kind of melodramatic garage rock that can exist either as a driving force of energy (see the 2004 single “The Rat”) or as laid-back ruminations on love, travel, and life (see You & Me).
Today’s Song of the Day, “Angela Surf City,” starts simply, with the characteristically unadorned drums of Matt Barrick, the thin and clangy guitar of Paul Maroon, and Leithauser’s plangent, crying vocals. About a minute in, the songs explodes with a raw energy rarely seen from The Walkmen since 2004’s Bows + Arrows, as the drums and guitar furiously intensify while Leithauser’s voice stretches out from a cry to a passionate wail. As always Leithauser’s voice remains confident, patient, and in control of itself despite the fact that the instruments have been turned loose. Also off of Lisbon, The Walkmen have released the horn-laden “Stranded” on their MySpace page, which is theatrical, resigned, and falls more in line with the songs off You & Me. Based on these two songs though, Lisbon seems like it’s going to have something for everyone, and should be an unquestioned pickup for fans of the band.
Lisbon is scheduled to be released on September 14, and The Walkmen will be playing a show next Wednesday, September 8, with The Helio Sequence at the Showbox at the Market. Tune in that day at noon as they’ll also be live on KEXP at noon! Until then, here’s a video of them playing “Angela Surf City” less than a month ago in New York: